<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Jacarandoso: Mérida’s Carnaval Icon</span>

Jacarandoso: Mérida’s Carnaval Icon

22 january 2024
3 min. de lectura

The Carnaval, México’s version of Mardi Gras, is one of Mérida’s most popular and awaited celebrations. This is the event where everyone gets together to enjoy the decorated floats and to dance in the dance troupes that are so much fun. Ingrained traditions and customs abound during this fun time. However, the most essential part of the Carnaval is the community that gets together to make it happen. They really work hard year after year to make this the best spectacle possible.   


Throughout the years there have been many legendary people involved in the Carnaval but the one that stands out in everyone's mind and won everyone Yucatecan’s heart with his charisma, choreography, and over-the-top costumes is Jacarandoso.    


Marcelo Sanguinetti was born in the Historical Center of Mérida in the San Sebastián neighborhood in 1956. During his childhood, he showed a deep love and interest for the traditional dance of Yucatán, which landed him a place in the Municipal Folklore Ballet. Over the years he participated in the Carnaval with small roles. However, in 1980 decided to form his own troupe with the participation of friends and neighbors using the nickname “Jacarandoso.” The impact he caused was so great, he won the title of “Ugly King” over six other contestants.   


JacarandosoFrom that moment on, Jacarandoso became the key figure in the yearly celebrations. His troupes were known for having more than 400 members and their costumes became famous for their grand size and colors. They were off-the-charts, incredible!   


With the hope of sharing his passion and knowledge with younger generations, Jacarandoso started giving dance classes at the Mérida Municipal School of Dance. During various interviews, he always mentioned that he saw his troupes as a seedbed for future Carnavals.   


He once again received the title of “King of Carnaval” in 2000, and five years later, in 2005, he was named the “Happiness Ambassador.” In 2019, the Museum of the City dedicated an entire salon to him with photographs, sculptures, and 3D projections of his work. For many, he was known as the “Eternal King.”   Jacarandoso


Unfortunately, after 40 years of participating wholeheartedly in the Carnaval, Jacarandoso passed away this past October 19, 2022. “Today there is a party in heaven,” said his niece Karen Sanguinetti when she announced her uncle’s passing. Oscar Cambranes, the Executive Secretary of the Permanent Committee of Mérida’s Carnaval, commented: “He always had a carnaval in his heart and soul; this is not a good-bye, but an until later.”  


This year will be the first without Jacarandoso's mythical troupe, but his legacy lives on! The enormous enthusiasm, passion, and excitement that he felt toward the Carnaval left an impact on his colleagues and students. His work continues to inspire designers, dancers, and performers. For the 2023 edition, the organizers will present a series of tributes to celebrate the memory, joy, and extensive legacy of Sanguinetti.  


All Yucatecans, but especially Meridanos, will remember Jacarandoso with great affection. For most Yucatecans, his name will always be synonymous with the word “fiesta.”   


Check out the events calendar and plan your visit by visiting:


FB: Comité Del Carnaval de Mérida

IG: carnavalmerida   

Carlos Argüelles

Author: Carlos Argüelles

Fashion designer and cultural agent. Lover of art, history, coffee, and Yucatecan gastronomy.

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